Librarians to archive tale of ‘Yolanda’ survivors

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016. Filed under: Philippine News

By Vicky C. Arnaiz

Residents stand on the ruins of their house amidst other destroyed houses after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines November 10, 2013. One of the most powerful storms ever recorded killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines province of Leyte, a senior police official said on Sunday, with coastal towns and the regional capital devastated by huge waves. Super typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of the area in its path as it tore through the province on Friday, said chief superintendent Elmer Soria, a regional police director. (MNS photo)

Residents stand on the ruins of their house amidst other destroyed houses after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines November 10, 2013. One of the most powerful storms ever recorded killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines province of Leyte, a senior police official said on Sunday, with coastal towns and the regional capital devastated by huge waves. Super typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of the area in its path as it tore through the province on Friday, said chief superintendent Elmer Soria, a regional police director. (MNS photo)

PALO, Leyte, Oct. 11 (PNA) – Trinidad Barbosa, 52, still cried as she vividly recalled the devastating scenes after supertyphoon Yolanda hit the central Philippines nearly three years ago.

In the soft launching of the “Yolanda survivors: Show and Tell” organized by the Eastern Visayas Region Librarians Council (EVRLC) on Monday in this town, Barbosa was in tears as she shared her story to the audience.

The sharing of stories was done after the opening of the exhibit of photos and stories at the venue.

Barbosa, a resident of Guadalupe, a coastal village in Baybay City, recalled that her husband died at around 1 a.m. on Nov. 8, 2013. His death made it hard for her and her children to leave his dead body at their house when they were told to evacuate.

“I am sickly and it kept my children worried. I don’t want to leave my deceased husband alone in the house. I kept on crying that my son had to carry me to transfer to the evacuation center,” the mother of eight narrated in vernacular.

She said her children tied her husband to the bed then tied the bed to another bed. After the fury of the cyclone waned around 12 noon, she found there was nothing left of their belongings except the bed and her husband.

“All were washed out,” recalled Barbosa, whose story left the audience misty-eyed.

Elizabeth Mondoza, representative of Natalia Llieva, executive assistant to the Secretary-General of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) said that “disasters happen anytime, God forbids, and we are here to help you archive your stories so that others will learn from your experiences.”

Yolanda (internally known as Haiyan) was the strongest typhoon to hit land in history and hearing stories and archiving it is very important.

“We are here because you never wean the past. Life goes on and your stories are to be told in all forms of media. We have to broadcast, print and digitalized it. If one has no internet connection at least you have the printed materials in your hand,” said Mendoza who is also the director of Courseline Training Center (CTC) based in Cagayan Valley.

Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union is an organization based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with 280 broadcaster-members across the world. It is one of the organizations that immediately responded the call of help after the monster typhoon hit the Philippines.

Lately, CTC is doing literacy campaign on health education, disaster preparedness especially for the persons with disability (PWDs), media literacy and community education with the support from ABU.

Pedro Millado lost his child at the height of the typhoon in Palo, Leyte. He kept his wife and 11-month old baby in the water drum so that the four hours that they were soaked in the neck-deep waters, both could survive by breastfeeding the baby in the drum in the middle of the storm.

He and his four other children were hanging in the window grills of a government office in Candahug village, Palo town. But their six-year-old child didn’t survive.

Hiroshi Kawamura, vice-president of Assistive Technology Development Organization extended support to typhoon victims a few weeks after the disaster hit the country. He also met with the officers of the Philippines Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI) of which the EVLRC is a member organization.

“Mr. Hiroshi was the person who encouraged and pushed us to have this project “show and tell” of people’s experiences after Haiyan including affected librarians,” said Erlinda Ayles, president of PLAI-EVRLC and chief librarian of Eastern Visayas State University main campus in Tacloban City.

“The earthquake and savaged tsunami hit Japan in 2011 that left thousands dead narrated Hiroshi, that is enough reason for me to stay and standby and help you people,” Hiroshi said.

“Today, we listen to survivors relive their painful endeavor after the typhoon. But this sharing of stories is very important because Yolanda was record-breaking in strength and your stories will help scientific observation,” Hiroshi added.

Hiroshi further said that your stories and knowledge of the typhoon is important and encouraging and helping others prepare when another disaster of such magnitude happens.

“The stories we archived in support of librarians in the region had the cutting edge around the world and for people to have access to your stories,” Hiroshi said.

Trinidad Barbosa has survived and so as her children. His husband is now a memory. Life after Haiyan is painful but somehow she manages well as she is now into sewing and hog raising. “I am into beadworks and sewing curtains,” she said.

Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla graced the event and inspired the group of how her constituents were helping each other after the typhoon.

“Helping others would also heal ourselves,” she said.

The stories were heartbreaking which the members of the library association hope to published the book. The activity was also in line with the celebration of the United Nations International Day Reduction on on Oct. 13, 2016.

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